KYUK AM

Politics

Stories about politics.

Jeremy Hsieh / KTOO

The Alaska Legislature wants to set aside the month of November to celebrate Alaska Native heritage, and a bill to make that happen just passed both houses. All it needs is Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s signature. 

Bethel City Council will discuss proposed alcohol ordinance and replacing City Attorney Patty Burley.
Christine Trudeau / KYUK

For the first time in history, the Bethel City Council passed an ordinance to compensate members for attending meetings. But it will only take effect if a public vote affirms the decision. The council has not yet acted to place the measure on the ballot in October. 

The ordinance introduced by Fritz Charles passed 4 to 3, with Charles, Mayor Fred Watson, Vice-Mayor Raymond “Thor” Williams, and council member Carole Jung-Jordan voting for compensation. Council members Leif Albertson, Mitchell Forbes, and Perry Barr voted against the ordinance. 

Bethel City Council will discuss proposed alcohol ordinance and replacing City Attorney Patty Burley.
Christine Trudeau / KYUK

The Bethel City Council had a busy night. Among other things, it signed off on its roads plan and approved ONC's Ciullkulek Subdivision.  

The vote on the subdivision was unanimous. ONC has plans for 38 homes and a senior center near the post office, and has touted the project as new affordable housing in Bethel. The roads plan seeks more than a million dollars in federal funding under the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program and would require a $175,000 city match.

Bethel City Council will discuss proposed alcohol ordinance and replacing City Attorney Patty Burley.
Christine Trudeau / KYUK

The Bethel City Council postponed a budget meeting Tuesday due to lack of quorum. That’s the third time in a row that not enough council members have showed up.

The delay in budget meetings started on April 30, when Leif Albertson was the only council member in attendance.

Albertson missed the next meeting, but so did every other council member besides Fritz Charles.

Bethel's Fire Chief Bill Howell serving as Acting City Manager
Greg Kim / KYUK

Bethel Fire Chief Bill Howell is now Bethel’s Acting City Manager. City council appointed Howell to the position last week, three days after publicly firing former City Manager Pete Williams. As KYUK reports, Howell has sat in the city manager’s seat before, but never under these circumstances. 


Bethel City Council will discuss proposed alcohol ordinance and replacing City Attorney Patty Burley.
Christine Trudeau / KYUK

Bethel City Council introduced an ordinance last week that would pay its council members for attending meetings. It wasn’t the first time council has considered compensating itself. Five times, a version of an ordinance to compensate city council members has been introduced; five times it has been voted down. 


Bethel Fire Chief and Acting City Manager Bill Howell
City of Bethel

Fire Chief Bill Howell is serving as Bethel’s Acting City Manager after Bethel City Council appointed him to the position on Friday. All council members attended the special meeting except Perry Barr, who was attending his daughter’s high school graduation. Vice-Mayor Raymond “Thor” Williams nominated Howell for the position, and the rest of the council unanimously agreed. 

Bethel City Council will discuss proposed alcohol ordinance and replacing City Attorney Patty Burley.
Christine Trudeau / KYUK

In the same meeting in which the Bethel City Council fired its city manager, it voted to introduce a measure to pay council members, provided Bethel voters approve. The ordinance, if passed, would pay council members for their service, but not before a public vote. The compensation would include $100 for every regular city council meeting attended, $25 for every special city council meeting, and in addition, water and sewer subsidies that could total several hundred dollars a month. The vote was split 5 to 2, with council members Leif Albertson and Mitchell Forbes voting against.

Orutsararmiut Native Council is seeking to develop a subdivision near the Bethel post office that would contain 38 housing lots across approximately 17 acres..
Anna Rose MacArthur / KYUK

More housing options could be coming to Bethel. The Bethel City Council unanimously introduced an ordinance to enter into an agreement with the Orutsararmiut Native Council to develop a subdivision. The approximately 17-acre neighborhood would be located near the Bethel post office and contain 38 housing lots.

The Bethel City Manager's empty desk.
Greg Kim / KYUK

The Bethel City Council fired City Manager Pete Williams Tuesday night. Council members were sharply divided in a 4 to 3. Voting for Williams to go were Mayor Fred Watson, Vice Mayor Raymond “Thor” Williams, and council members Fritz Charles and Carole Jung-Jordan. Voting for Williams to stay were council members Leif Albertson, Perry Barr, and Mitchell Forbes.


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